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Title: Anything you dream is fiction, anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.

Anything you dream is fiction, anything you
accomplish is science, the whole history of
mankind is nothing but science fiction. Ray
What is science fiction? Science fiction is a
form that deals principally with the impact of
actual or imagined science upon society or
individuals. If science concerns itself with
discovery, then science fiction concerns itself
with the consequences of discovery. It is a
testament to the visionary nature of the form
that science fiction writers predicted the advent
of atomic weapons and sentient machines. Its
enduring value though is in its capacity to ask
probing questions of each new scientific advance,
to conduct a dialogue with progress that decodes
its real meaning and reveals it to us.
Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on
August 22, 1920. By the time he was eleven, he
had already begun writing his own stories on
butcher paper. His family moved fairly
frequently, and he graduated from a Los Angeles
high school in 1938. He had no further formal
education, but he studied on his own at the
library and continued to write. According to
Bradbury, he graduated from the library at the
age of twenty-eight. Bradbury honed his science
fiction sensibility writing for popular
television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock
Presents and The Twilight Zone. He also ventured
into screenplay writing (he wrote the screenplay
for John Huston's 1953 film Moby Dick). His
book The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950,
established his reputation as a leading American
writer of science fiction. Bradburys great
adventures would take place behind a typewriter,
in the realm of imagination In the spring of
1950, while living with his family in a humble
home in Venice, California. Bradbury began
writing what was to become Fahrenheit 451 on
pay-by-the-hour typewriters in the University of
California at Los Angeles library basement. He
finished the first draft in just nine days.
Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury (1953) Time the
Future Place a City The book is ablaze with the
hope and despair of a writer wanting humankind to
learn from its historical mistakes, and from the
wisdom of its writers. Imagine a world where
everything is sped up, where bill boards are five
times bigger than ours because the speed limit is
so high, where everything you see from a car is a
blur, where pedestrians dont exist. A future
populated by non-readers and non-thinkers, people
with no sense of their history, where a
totalitarian government has banned the written
word. This is more than just a story of
dictatorial censorship, it is a story that also
draws parallels between entertainment and
addiction, between individual avoidance of
thinking and governmental means of
thought prevention.
Set in the twenty-fourth century, Fahrenheit 451
tells the story of Guy Montag, a
thirty-year-old-fireman whose job is to set
fires, not put them out. He and his colleagues
burn books, which are now considered contraband.
At the outset Montag takes pleasure in his
work, and thinks himself a happy man. Soon,
however, he begins to question the value of his
profession and, in turn, his life.
(No Transcript)
Burning Bright An excerpt from a foreword to the
fortieth Anniversary Edition of Fahrenheit 451 by
Ray Bradbury February 14, 1993 .a prediction
that my fire Chief, Beatty, made in 1953, halfway
through my book. It had to do with books being
burned without matches or fire. Because you dont
have to burn books, do you, if the world starts
to fill up with nonreaders, non-learners,
non-knowers? If the world wide-screen-basketballs
and footballs itself to drown in MTV, no Beattys
are needed to ignite the kerosene or hunt the
reader. If the primary grades suffer meltdown and
vanish through the cracks and ventilators of the
schoolroom, who, after a while, will know or
care? All is not lost, of course. There is still
time if we judge teachers, students, and parents,
hold them accountable on the same scale, if we
truly test teachers, students, and parents, if we
make everyone responsible for quality, if we
insure that by the end of its sixth year every
child in every country can live in libraries to
learn almost by osmosis, then our drug,
street-gang, rape, and murder scores will suffer
themselves near zero. But the Fire Chief, in
midnovel, says it all, predicting the one-minute
TV commercial with three images per second and no
respite from the bombardment. Listen to him, know
what he says, then go sit with your child, open a
book, and turn the page.
The foundation when Fahrenheit 451 was
written Communism and national security the red
menace Due to the U.S. conflict with the Soviet
Union, anti-Communism moved to the ideological
center of American politics. By the beginning of
1946 most of the nation's policymakers had come
to view the Soviet Union as a hostile power
committed to a program of worldwide expansion
that only the United States was strong enough to
resist. The anti-communist agenda What
transformed the communist threat into a national
obsession was the involvement of the federal
government. During the early years of the cold
war, the actions of the federal government helped
to forge and legitimize the anticommunist consensu
s that enabled most Americans to condone or
participate in the serious violations of civil
liberties that characterized the McCarthy era.
The Red Scare
McCarthyism Joseph McCarthy was a republican
senator of Wisconsin known for attracting
headlines with his charges of communist
infiltration in American organizations.
McCarthys accusations were usually baseless and
ruined the careers of many distinguished
citizens. He became front-page news in 1950, when
he publicly charged that more than two hundred
secret communists had infiltrated the State
Department. While the U.S. conducted a militant
anticommunist campaign against advances in
Eastern Europe and China, Senator McCarthy
obsessively pursued an investigation of communist
subversion in all walks of life here at
home. The McCarthy hearings in 1954 were held to
investigate charges by Senator McCarthy. With a
television audience of twenty million Americans,
public reaction to Senator McCarthy's activities
started to became more negative. Over the span of
thirty-six days, there were thirty-two witnesses,
seventy-one half-day sessions, 187 hours of TV
air time, 100,000 live observers, and two million
words of testimony. McCarthy died on May 2,
1957, of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of
forty-eight. Consider, however, that
McCarthyism's main impact may well have been in
what was prevented the social reforms that were
never adopted, the diplomatic initiatives that
were not pursued, the workers who never
unionized, the books that were never written, and
the movies that were never filmed. On the pretext
of protecting the nation from communist
infiltration, federal agents attacked individual
rights and extended state power into movie
studios, universities, labor unions, and many
other ostensibly independent nongovernmental
Black Listing Careers were destroyed by knowing
the wrong person
McCarthyism was an effective form of political
repression. The punishments were primarily
economic In the McCarthy many thousands of
people lost their jobs. Indeed, most of the time
the first stage of identifying the alleged
communists was handled by an official agency like
an investigating committee or the FBI. The
investigators often greased the wheels by warning
their witnesses' employers or releasing lists of
prospective witnesses to the local press. In
the entertainment industry, the anti-communist
firings and subsequent blacklisting of men and
women in show business are well known. The movies
had been a target of the anti-communist network
since the late 1930s and in 1947, the Hollywood
Ten hearings precipitated the blacklist. By
1951, the blacklist was in full operation. There
was, of course, no official list and the studios
routinely denied that blacklisting occurred.
Still, writers stopped getting calls for work
actors were told they were "too good for the
part." The blacklist spread to the broadcast
industry as well. Here, the process became public
in June 1950 with the publication of Red
Channels, a 213-page compilation of the alleged
communist affiliations of 151 actors, writers,
musicians, and other radio and television
entertainers. When the blacklist lifted in the
1960s, its former victims were never able to
fully resuscitate their careers. to cooperate
with anti-communist investigators.
Black Listing
1950s Timeline
Television begins to be broadcast nationally,
coast to coast. Jackson Pollock and other
American painters continued to create a new
Abstract Expressionism style. The first
nuclear test occurs at the Nevada Test
Site. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are convicted
and sentenced to death for passing information on
atomic weapons to the USSR.
Suburbia is born in the form of small
suburban communities like Levittown, PA.
Many more families could now afford to own
homes. A second US nuclear weapons laboratory
is established in Livermore, CA. First British
atomic bomb, Hurricane was tested at Monte
Bello Islands, Australia, with a yield
of twenty-five kilotons.
President Harry Truman approves production of
the hydrogen bomb. Ted Williams becomes
the highest paid baseball player at 125,000 a
year (today Alex Rodrigues makes
twenty-two million dollars a year).
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The U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Brown v. the
Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that racial
segregation in schools was illegal. U.S. Senator
Joseph McCarthy begins a televised anti-communist
trials. The first deliverable hydrogen bomb is
tested at Bikini Atoll. The USA threatens to use
the nuclear weapons to stop Soviet aggression on
Europe. The Regency TR-1 was the world's first
commercially marketed transistor radio.
Disneyland opens in Los Angeles. The Beat
Generation of writers is launched by the
publication of Allen Ginsbergs poem Howl which
began, I saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness Rosa Parks refuses to give
up her seat on a public bus in Montgomery,
Alabama. First true fusion device test by the
Soviet Union, it had a yield of one point six
Francis Crick and James Watson discover the
double helix of the DNA.
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First British H-bomb exploded at Christmas
Island. First underground nuclear test Rainier
occurred at the Nevada Test Site. Britain and
France each become a nuclear power. Television
viewing rapidly expands with the introduction of
Cable Extensive work begins on the Federal
Highway system after it was approved a year
earlier. Now there are over 45,000 miles of
interstate highways. The Soviet Union Launches
the Sputnik, the first artificial satellite.
Elvis Presley took the music world by storm with
five 1 songs on the Billboard Music Chart. Rober
t Noyce and Jack Kilby invent the microchip. The
first enclosed mall called Southdale opened in
Edina, Minnesota
The first US Polaris capable nuclear missile
submarine enters into service. Drive-in movies
were the place to hangout if you were a
teenager. On December 10, 1958 the first
domestic jet-airline passenger service is begun
by National Airlines between New York and
Miami. European democracies (Italy, Germany,
Belgium, Holland, France) found European Union.
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U.S. Constitution First Amendment Religion and
Expression Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom
of speech, or of the press or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition
the Government for a redress of grievances.
As long as humans have sought to communicate,
others have sought to prevent them. Every day
some government or other group tries to restrict
or control what can be said, written, sung, or
broadcast. Almost every idea ever thought has
proved objectionable to someone, and almost
everyone has sometimes felt the world would be a
better place if only so and so would go
away. Remember, the firemen are rarely
necessary. The public itself stopped reading of
its own accord Ray Bradbury on Fahrenheit 451
originally published the Fahrenheit 451 in 1953,
but in 1967 brought out a special edition to be
sold to high schools. Without informing Bradbury
or putting a note in the edition, the publisher
modified seventy-five passages in the novel in
order to eliminate words like hell, damn. The
expurgated edition was sold for thirteen years
before a friend of Bradburys alerted him to the
problem. Bradbury demanded that Ballantine
withdraw the version and replace it with the
original. Ballantine agreed. The publicity
generated by the expurgated version of Fahrenheit
451 caused the American Library Associations
Intellectual Freedom Committee to investigate
other school books and use its considerable
economic clout to warn publishers about
expurgations and demand that any excised versions
be clearly identified. (from
has a history of controlling the reading habits
of Americans. The FBIs Library Awareness
Program sought to recruit librarians as counter
intelligence assets to monitor suspicious library
users and report their reading habits to the
FBI. When the American Library Association (ALA)
learned of this, its Intellectual Freedom
Committee issued an advisory statement warning
that libraries are not extensions of the long
arm of the law or of the gaze of Big Brother
Another ALA memo chastised the FBI for its
efforts to convert library circulation records
into suspect lists The program was eventually
ended, or so says the FBI. Foerstel, H. Library
Surveillance The FBIs Library Awareness Program
Banned and Challenged Books A challenge is an
attempt to remove or restrict materials, based
upon the objections of a person or group. A
banning is the removal of those materials.
Challenges do not simply involve a person
expressing a point of view rather, they are an
attempt to remove material from the curriculum or
library, thereby restricting the access
of others. The following page is a graphic of
such books. (see graphic next page)
Censorship reflects a societys lack of
confidence in itself. Potter Stewart/Associate
Justice of the U.S Supreme Court (1915-1985)
Censorship is advertising paid by the
government. Federico FelliniItalian Film
HARRY POTTER (Series) by J.K. Rowling 1997.
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury 1953
A RAISIN IN THE SUN by L. Hansberry 1959
Expurgated at the Venado Middle School in Irvine,
CA (1992). Students received copies of the book
with scores words blacked out.
Challenged and banned for its focus on wizardry
and magic
Responding to criticisms from an Antiporn
organization, the Ogden, Utah School
District (1979) restricted circulation
of Hansberrys play.
MOBY DICK by Herman Melville 1839
Frank 1967
Banned from the advanced placement English
reading list at the Lindale, TX schools (1996)
because it conflicts with the values of the
Four members of the Alabama State Textbook
committee (1983) called for the rejection of this
title because it is a real downer.
2001 Clear Channel Communications (largest
owner of radio stations in the US) releases a
list of more than 150lyrically questionable
songs that the stations may want to pull from
their play lists.
2000 In New York the police called for
the cancellation of Bruce Springsteens
performances after he debuts a song about the
shooting of Amadou Diallo entitled American
2002 - WAL-MART BANS EMINEM Wal-Mart has banned
the sale of the CD titled The Eminem Show at all
of their stores. Wal-Mart's official CD sales
policy states, in part Wal-Mart will not stock
music with parental guidance stickers.
1958 The Mutual Broadcasting System drops all
rock and roll records from its network
music programs, calling it distorted,
monotonous, noisy music.
More More - People clamor for technology
faster computers, faster connections to internet,
computerized chat rooms that enable us to
speak to faceless strangers, more comprehensive
cell phone networks, pagers, more powerful cars,
voice mail, palm pilots, etc. People seem
petrified of wasting time. Bradbury believed that
the presence of fast cars, loud music, and a
constant barrage of advertisements created a life
with far too much stimulation in which no one had
the time or ability to concentrate. Further, he
felt people regarded the huge mass of published
material as too overwhelming, leading to a
society that read condensed books (very popular
at the time Bradbury was writing) rather than the
real thing.
Percentage of children ages 8-16 who have a TV in
their bedroom 56
Age by which children develop brand loyalty 2
Years old
Average time per week that the American child
ages 2- 17 spends watching television 19 hours
and 40 minutes
Television is a chewing gum for the Eyes. Frank
Lloyd Wright
The remarkable thing about TV is that it permits
several million people to laugh at the same joke
and still I feel lonely. T.S. Eliot
Number of TV commercials viewed by American
children a year 20,000
Discussion Questions
  • Look at the importance of entertainment in your
    own lives or in the lives of your friends (what
    sorts of entertainment do you enjoy Internet,
    movies, music, TV etc) How much of your time do
    you spend consuming entertainment?

Discussion Questions
  • How is entertainment marketed to us and how does
    it affect our daily lives?

Discussion Questions
  • Is entertainment addictive? Can it serve the same
    purposes as drugs or alcohol?

Discussion Questions
  • The novel expresses that mindless entertainment
    can weaken or destroy the mind. Is there evidence
    of this?

Discussion Questions
  • How do stress, pressure and speed in life and
    effect us. (Look, for example at road rage and
    other such phenomena.)
  • How do addictions (drugs, alcohol, television,
    entertainment, etc.) relate?

About Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451, the
temperature at which paper catches
fire. Fahrenheit 451 is a social criticism that
warns against the danger of suppressing thought
through censorship. Fahrenheit 451 uses the
conventions of science fiction to convey the
message that oppressive government, left
unchecked, does irreparable damage to society by
curtailing the creativity and freedom of its
people. The "dystopia motif, popular in science
fiction - that of a technocratic and totalitarian
society that demands order at the expense of
individual rights - is central to the novel.
Developed in the years immediately following
World War II, Fahrenheit 451 condemns not only
the anti intellectualism of Nazi Germany, but
more immediately America in the early 1950's -
the heyday of McCarthyism. On a more personal
level, Bradbury used Fahrenheit 451 as a means of
protesting what he believed to be the
invasiveness of editors who, through their strict
control of the books they printed, impaired the
originality and creativity of writers.
Ironically, Fahrenheit 451, itself a vehicle of
protest against censorship, has often been edited
for foul language. Fahrenheit 451 has sold
millions of copies and established itself as a
literary classic. The Library of Congress
recently designated this best-known book of
Bradburys as one of the top 100 works of
American literature. Forty-nine years after it
first appeared on bookshelves, Ray Bradburys
cautionary novel remains recommended reading in
high school classrooms across the country.
(No Transcript)
Similarities with our society The society
Bradbury describes in Fahrenheit 451 is, in many
ways, like the one we are living in right now a
technologically advanced and violent society, a
busy and fast-paced world. Clarisse notices how
fast people drive dont know what grass is, or
flowers because they never see them slowly. If
you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! Hed
say, that s grass! A pink blur! Thats a rose
garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are
cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He
drove forty miles an hour and they jailed him for
two days. (p. 9) In Fahrenheit 451 young
people are violent. Clarisse tells Montag she
is afraid of children my own age. They kill
each otherSix of my friends have been shot in
the last year alone. Ten of them died in car
wrecks. Im afraid of them and they dont like me
because Im afraid.(p.30) One needs only think
of the Columbine High School massacre to note the
presence of violence in our society. Like
Fahrenheit 451s firemen, Hitler was burning
books in Germany. We should ask ourselves how
far are we from this fictional world? Fahrenheit
451 is disturbing precisely because it is
(No Transcript)
Symbolism Bradburys use of symbolism throughout
renders the book moving and powerful and
reinforces his ideas of anticensorship. Some
symbolism to look for Books are burned
physically and ideas are burned from the mind.
Bradbury warns us about what happens when we stop
expressing our ideas, and we permit people to
take away our books. Part one of the book
entitled The Earth and The Salamander a
salamander is known to endure fire without
getting burned. A salamander is therefore
symbolic of Montag, because he works with fire
and endures it. Montag believes he can escape the
fire and survive, much like a salamander. The
symbol of a Phoenix is used throughout the novel.
A Phoenix is a multicolored bird from Arabian
myth. At the end of its 500-year existence, it
perches on its nest of spices and sings until
sunlight ignites its body. After the body is
consumed, a worm emerges and develops into the
next Phoenix. This symbolizes both the
rebirth after destruction by fire and the
cyclical nature of things. Firemen wear the
Phoenix on their uniforms and Beatty drives a
Phoenix car. Montag, after realizing that fire
has destroyed him, wishes to be reborn.
Granger, one of Fahrenheit 451s characters,
said There was a silly damn bird called
Phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred
years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He
must have been first cousin to Man. (p.163)
(No Transcript)
Dualism Book -burner / book -reader dualism
Montag burns books during his workday. At home,
however, his lifestyle betrays this work ethic.
Beatty and Faber represent this opposition
Montag receives totally opposing lectures from
them on the innate value of books and what ought
to be done with them. The fire has in itself two
conflicting properties destruction and
preservation. The fire is used to burn houses and
books, to destroy possessions. Fire also provides
heat to cook meals, warm people, and provide
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